All over the globe, buses and taxis ply city streets and freeways daily.  Underground, subway trains shuttle people to and from homes to offices, malls and recreational areas within minutes at any given time of the day. 

Tagging along for the ride are the loads of ads that literally surround commuters in and out of the public transport system.  From toys, beverages, websites, movie premiers, donuts, to legal services—practically any kind of product or service—all these compete for people’s attention from the time they get on the bus or train and alight at their stops.

This type of advertising is called transit advertising or simply, advertising on wheels. It’s a growing medium which lets advertisers reach a broader spectrum of consumers anywhere at any time of the day. It is a mode of advertising that cannot be ignored.  How can you if you ride public transport that carries advertisements that are pretty much all you fasten your eyes on while waiting to get to your destination?

Daniel Shifrin, pioneer of the automobile advertising business model and founder of in San Diego, California, anticipates this new means of outdoor advertising to grow by leaps and bounds within a very short period of time.  His company’s database alone already contains some 5,000 drivers waiting to get “draped” in the same vinyl ads seen on buses and cabs.  Shifrin anticipates that the sheer number of cars on the road along with the worsening traffic congestion within cities and along freeways make the “personal vehicle a natural medium for advertising.”

The great news is that you too can cash on this bandwagon if driving around is part of your daily routine.  That is if you don’t mind having your car or trailer “wrapped” with an ad over a period of time.  Selling ad space on your car could earn you an extra US$300 to US$600 a month by simply doing what you do every day. That is, to DRIVE!

The downside though is that selling ad space could lead to some loss of privacy as you may have to answer queries about the product or service that you advertise. But if you don’t mind doing some secondary advertising yourself by answering queries and you’re still raring to give this opportunity a chance, then there are two ways of getting started.

First, write down the companies you see with their ads on buses, taxis and subway trains. 

Get their contact numbers or websites and present your proposal of having them use your car or trailer space for their ads.  Talk to them about your proposal and let them know how you can help broaden their exposure given your daily route, your frequency of driving in a week, and the places you frequent.

If you find that there’s too much competition for the attention of these companies, you may opt to directly approach local chain stores, supermarkets, car dealers and other businesses in your area.  Be open to the idea of being paid both in cash and items or services, otherwise called “exchange deals”.

Your best bet, however, is to hook up with a transit ad company which does ad placements for companies.  Ask them about their terms and conditions.  They may require you to travel a minimum distance and along a specific area or routes to visit at a given time. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when hunting for you prospective advertisers:

  1. Choose a company whose brand you’d love to advertise.  One which suits your lifestyle, personality and driving habits.  In this way, your driving becomes more pleasurable and you’d be more comfortable answering questions from onlookers.
  2. When dealing with a transit-advertising agency, opt for an agency that allows you to choose the brand you will advertise.
  3. Determine how the ad will be displayed on your vehicle and what material will be used.  Will it be in the form of vinyl graphic panels, magnetic signs, bumper stickers or a total car wrap?  You don’t want any material damaging your existing paint job.
  4. Keep your car well-maintained and all its documents updated.  Keep the agency in the loop in case of damage to either your vehicle or the ad material, changes in your driving pattern/routine, or relocation.
  5. Avoid run-ins with the law especially records of drunk driving and other traffic violations.  Companies and ad agencies only deal with individuals with clean records.

Finally, AVOID CLUTTER. Don’t close deals with too many advertisers all at one time. You’d want to keep your clients for the long-term.  More importantly, you avoid looking like a travelling circus or a bulletin board on wheels.

Are you making money with ad space on your car or trailer or thinking about doing so? Be sure to share your comments, thoughts, ideas below…

2 Responses to Sell Ad Space on Your Car or Trailer

  1. ruby says:

    You make a great point and some great information here too. Thanks for sharing this. Keep up the good work!

  2. etherealmorning says:

    As a college student who commutes daily, I think something like this could really be an awesome way to make some extra money! If I could just find a company that is trying to promote itself to college aged people, then I could easily imagine something like this taking off very well. The only concern is once I start, I am certain thousands of other kids will be taking up the same idea, if they are smart enough of course. Even with having to answer a few questions about the product or company, the potential payout can be rather enormous. I mean, $300 to $600 dollars a month just to drive around with what amounts to a sign on my car? Count me in on that. Now I’m just going to go look through the directory for some local businesses and see who could really use a service like this. Thanks for the idea!

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